Relief groups map Burma flooding

Information on the extent of damage from flooding in western Burma has now been made available by a consortium of relief agencies, with some towns and villages having lost hundreds of houses.

At least 63 people have been confirmed dead after heavy rain caused flooding and landslides in Arakan state, while across the border in eastern Bangladesh, thousands of people are thought to have been affected.

A graphical map released this week by the Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU), in collaboration with UN and EU agencies, shows that Let Wea Det village, close to Buthidong township, had 103 houses completely destroyed by the flooding. Further north, in Done Paik village, 400 houses were partially damaged.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said on Wednesday that more half a million properties in Arakan state were damaged by the floods, while 6,000 were injured or missing. The damage was mainly focused in the state’s northwestern Maungdaw and Buthidong townships, close to the border with Bangladesh.

Unlike Bangladesh, however, freak weather events only hit Burma sporadically, and last week’s rainfall of nearly 14 inches was a record in the country’s western region. But cyclone Nargis in May 2008, which struck Burma’s southern Irrawaddy delta, killing 140,000 and leaving 2.4 million homeless, is believed to be one of Southeast Asia’s worst recorded natural disasters.

Heavy rains began in the mountainous border region on the evening of 14 June, and eased two days later. Swathes of farmland has been caked in mud and the World Food Programme (WFP) has been distributing rice.

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